Sunday, June 16, 2013

Author: Barbara Delinsky Interview and Giveaway!

Brought to you by the fabulous Wunderkind PR...

I'm so excited to welcome one of the BIGGEST names in women's fiction, Barbara Delinsky, to the blog today to celebrate her newest release from St. Martin's Press.


Welcome to Books à la Mode, Barbara! Let's get this interview started.

Will you please share a brief bio with us?

Barbara Delinsky is nothing if not prolific. Since 1980, she has written well over fifty novels, and shows no sign of slowing down. More than twenty million copies of her books are in print worldwide, translated into over a dozen foreign languages.

Born and raised in Newton, a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts, Barbara earned a B.A. in psychology at Tufts University in 1967 and an M.A. in sociology at Boston College in 1969. Before beginning her career as a writer, she was a researcher for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and a photographer and reporter for the Boston Herald.

Barbara's career in writing began when she read a newspaper article about romance fiction. She researched the field, read 40 to 50 category romances and sat down to begin her own. She found that her background in psychology was helpful in "lanning the emotional entanglements of [her] characters," and claims that she has "pulled on virtually every aspect of [her] background and of [her] life experience in general [in her writing]."

Barbara's awards are many. From Romantic Times magazine, she's received the Special Achievement Award (twice), the Reviewer's Choice Award and the Best Contemporary Romance Award. She's also received the Romance Writers of America Golden Medallion and Golden Leaf awards.

Now residing in Needham, Massachusetts, Barbara is married to a prominent local lawyer and has three sons.


Could you tell us a bit about Sweet Salt Air, which hits shelves June 18th?

On Quinnipeague, hearts open under the summer stars and secrets float in the sweet salt air...

Charlotte and Nicole were once the best of friends, spending summers together in Nicole's coastal island house off of Maine. But many years, and many secrets, have kept the women apart. A successful travel writer, single Charlotte lives on the road, while Nicole, a food blogger, keeps house in Philadelphia with her surgeon-husband, Julian. When Nicole is commissioned to write a book about island food, she invites her old friend Charlotte back to Quinnipeague, for a final summer, to help. Outgoing and passionate, Charlotte has a gift for talking to people and making friends, and Nicole could use her expertise for interviews with locals. Missing a genuine connection, Charlotte agrees.

But what both women don't know is that they are each holding something back that may change their lives forever. For Nicole, what comes to light could destroy her marriage, but it could also save her husband. For Charlotte, the truth could cost her Nicole’s friendship, but could also free her to love again. And her chance may lie with a reclusive local man, with a heart to soothe and troubles of his own.

Bestselling author and master storyteller Barbara Delinsky invites you come away to Quinnipeague...

Sounds absolutely magical! What inspired you to write about the medical issue addressed in the book?

One little box—specifically, a box waiting for pickup in the labor rooms where each of my grandchildren was born. The box contained umbilical cord blood, which my own kids chose to freeze for their kids, and this got me thinking about its uses. A little research later, I felt I had a cutting edge issue fit for a book.

Fascinating how a real-life event could spark something so big! You fully embrace modern communication—email, cell phones, texting as dialogue—in your writing. What are the benefits and challenges of including technology as forms of communication in your novels?


These things are real. They're how people communicate these days, which makes including them in books a no-brainer—not if you want to relate to an audience that is living in the here and now!

Definitely! It's so odd when I read books or see movies that don't include devices like cell phones or tools like Facebook. Half of the mysteries could be solved and half the conflicts avoided with a simple Google search in most thrillers. What is your character-sketching process like? How do you conclude, after planning, that they are real enough to write about?


I do very general character sketches. In Sweet Salt Air, for instance, I knew that Charlotte would be a world traveler while her friend, Nicole, was married and at home. I knew that Charlotte needed to find something to anchor her, while Nicole needed the self-confidence to take command. It wasn't until I actually started to write, though, that these women found their voices. The first handful of chapters are always crucial for this. Just as the reader gets to know the main characters, so do I!


How much of yourself do you put into your books?

That depends. I consciously avoid politics and religion, though I fear that my lead characters reflect my approach to the world. And the things they do? I have to be comfortable with that.

There's a lot of me in Sweet Salt Air, though you'd have to know me well to see it. I once struggled through knitting an Aran Isle sweater, so Charlotte does the same. I have always appreciated the ocean, which Charlotte and Nicole both do. Blue and green are two of my favorite colors, hence the decor in Nicole's beach house.

There's also a bit of fantasy in the growing of herbs in this book. Fantasy is definitely me, especially since I have zero talent as a gardener.

It's fiction after all—go all-out on the fantasy! ;) Which comes first for you, character or plot?

Sometimes one, sometimes the other. In my 2009 book, While My Sister Sleeps, the main character came first. I had never written a coming-of-age story before, and though my main character is 27, she hasn't yet found herself. I wanted to help her do that. In this newest novel, the plot came before the characters.

Where can you be found on the web?


It was a pleasure chatting with you today, Barbara! Thank you so much for joining us, and best of luck with future endeavors!


Giveaway!


We've got one finished copy of Sweet Salt Air up for grabs. To enter the giveaway, fill out the Rafflecopter form below. For extra entries, leave a comment in response to Barbara's question:
Charlotte and Nicole, the protagonists of my new book Sweet Salt Air, were best friends growing up. They've taken very different directions in life and, now in their thirties, are trying to reconnect. In the course of as very special summer, each has to accept faults in the other. How about you? Does your best friend have faults that you've learned to accept? What are they?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL—comments only consisting of "I love the sound of this book" or "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry!!!! Barbara and I really want to hear you guys' thoughts! :)

Don't forget the terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publicist—a huge thank you to Wunderkind PR!
Giveaway ends July 1st 2013 at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US readers only. Sorry, everyone else! Check out my sidebar for giveaways currently running that are  open internationally—you don't want to miss those!
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their prizes will be forfeited.
Although I do select winners via Rafflecopter (Random.org), I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤ Plus you get extra entries ;)
Good luck!